History’s Lessons

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June 8, 1967 Israeli air force planes attack a U.S. navy electronic ship, the USS Liberty, in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 34 American officers are killed and 171 are wounded. The crew all state that this was a premeditated attack on a clearly marked ship in international waters. Congress still refuses to investigate and accepted the Israeli version that it was a mistake. See http://www.ussliberty.org/ A documentary titled “Cover Up: Attack on the USS Liberty (50min) was aired on the History Channel. Another even more detailed was aired by the BBC. Both videos are highly recommended.

June 8, 1974 Political Program adopted at the 12th Session of the Palestine National Council, Cairo based on International law and UN resolutions and thus for the first time accepting a two state solution.

June 5, 1982 Israel air bombardment on Lebanon and followed 6 June by land, air and sea invasion of Lebanon. By 30 June alone, more than 15,000 civilian are killed, 50% of them children under the age of 13.

June 5, 1967 Al Naksa: Israel carries out a devastating offensive and starts the so-called six-day war, occupying Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem and the old city), Sinai, and the Golan Heights. The occupation of all but the Sinai continues in defiance of International law and countless UN resolutions. This was a war of conquest, nothing more and nothing less. Moshe Dayan, Israeli Defense Minister during the 1967 war, admitted in a 1976 interview (not published until 1997) that prior to 1967, Israel deliberately provoked Syria because settlers wanted a pretext to seize the land. Dayan revealed that “Eighty percent of the incidents worked like this: We would send tractors to plow in an area of little use, in a demilitarized zone, knowing ahead of time that the Syrians would shoot. If they didn’t start shooting, we would tell the tractors to advance until the Syrians would get aggravated and start shooting. We used artillery and later the air force became involved.” Dayan recalled that during the war, settlers from the north lobbied the Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, to convince him to seize the land for their use. “They didn’t even try to hide their lust for that soil. That’s what guided them” Dayan said.

Israeli General Matityahu Peled similarly stated: “The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only bluff, which was born and developed after the war” (Ha’aretz, 19 March 1972).

General Peled also stated “To pretend that the Egyptian forces massed on our frontiers were in a position to threaten the existence of Israel constitutes an insult not only to the intelligence of anyone capable of analyzing this sort of situation, but above all an insult to the Zahal [Israeli army]” (General Matityahu Peled, Ha’aretz, 19 March 1972).

Yitzhak Rabin himself stated: “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai on May 14 would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it” (Le Monde, 29 February 1968).

Dr. Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is Chair of the Media Committee, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Connecticut, USA.

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